Chapter 2 Part 3
Arthon and Ardinia were told by Greer that they could expect to reach the river Ashaba in a little more than a ride (a tenday). And with the rain of the previous couple days giving way to a cool crisp spring morning, the pair hit the trail with high spirits.
It was halfway through the fourth day that they heard a noise foreign to the forest. For a couple seconds they tried to figure out what it was and were alarmed when they realised it was travelers on horseback…talking in the human common tongue. Ardinia dismounted and readied her long bow while Arthon rode up to meet them.
They were two humans, and upon seeing Arthon approaching, sword in hand, they got visibly nervous. The one in a riding cloak and wearing a medallion of the human goddess of magic casually put his hands beneath his cloak while the stronger and apparently more physical one shifted his mount slightly, positioning himself slightly more between his companion and the approaching elf.
When Arthon demanded they state their business in the People’s Woods, it was with almost respect that they robed one replied that they meant the inhabitants of Cormanthor no harm and were simply passing through on their way to the city of Hillsfar on the shores of the Moonsea to the north. The pair introduced themselves as Crayer and Blemie and after a were happy to answer Arthon’s inquiry about gnolls to the south. Crayer informed him that they had just come from the village of Shadowdale and in the inn there, there was much talk of gnolls ravaging the land to the east of the village, along the river and the trail between the hamlet and their eastern neighbor Ashabenford.
Arthon thanked the pair and the two groups passed and went their separate ways. It was the next evening that the two had their second encounter. During Arthon’s watch, he was alarmed to hear speaking and laughing from the woods beyond their campsite. He woke his sister just in time to hear,
“Ello there! You’s on yer way west to the big party?” They were found the speaker to be a small brownie perched on a leafy plant just at the edge of their campsite. He introduced himself and his companion below the plant, who was already complaining that they were going to be late for the big party. Billibit was over joyed to learn that Ardinia was the wife of the ranger Siam and he made small talk with the two elves while his companion pleaded that they get going, less they be late. After a few moments, there was a whistle from somewhere in the woods and with a cackle the two brownies disappeared into the night as fast as they had appeared.
“Owlbear dung!” Ardinia exclaimed, “What did they steal??!” and the two frantically started taking inventory of their items. They were just feeling that they had escaped the encounter unaffected when they realized their horses were missing. Several hours later they found the mounts lazily wandering around the forest, both wore a wreath of bright spring flower on their heads.
“I hate fairies!” Arthon declared as they made their way back to the campsite.